Feeds

Notorious spammer Ralsky pleads guilty to stock scam

Father and son-in-law spammers face slammer

Seven Steps to Software Security

Notorious spammer Alan Ralsky faces up to 87 months' imprisonment after pleading guilty to participation in a pump-and-dump stock spam scam.

Ralsky, 64, of West Bloomfield, Michigan and four accomplices pleaded guilty on Monday to conspiracy to various wire fraud, mail fraud, money laundering and CAN-SPAM Act offences, as part of a racket estimated to have netted $3m in illicit profits over just 18 months.

Between January 2004 and September 2005, the group used junk mail to build interest in low-value, thinly-traded stocks owned by individuals based in China and Hong Kong.

The spam emails falsely claimed the stocks were about to surge, in a bid to tempt recipients to invest. The gang invested in the stocks while they were low then sold them as they reached a peak of false expectation, before the inevitable crash'n'burn.

The masterminds of the fraud - Ralsky and his son-in-law Scott K Bradley, 38, also of of West Bloomfield, Michigan - face prison sentences of up to seven years and six and a half years, respectively, under the terms of a plea bargaining agreement. Each also faces possible fines of up to $1m.

John S Bown, 45, of Fresno, California, who admitted using a botnet of compromised PCs to distribute spam, faces five years behind bars and a fine of up to $75,000 over his role in the scam. Bown, the former chief exec of ISP, GDC Layer One, served as the CTO of the scam business, according to prosecutors.

The trio, along with their partners in spam - William C Neil, 46, of Fresno, California, and James E Fite, 36, of Culver City, California - are due to be sentenced in Detroit on 29 October. Three others, one based in China, have also admitted involvement in the scam, while a further three people are awaiting trial. The case was brought following a three-year FBI-led investigation.

A DoJ statement on the case, explaining the mechanisms of the scam and charges against the gang in greater depth, can be found here. ®

Bootnote

Ralsky is a recidivist fraudster and unrepentant spammer. He unwisely boasted of his activities to local paper Detroit News back in 2002, letting slip enough information for mischief-makers to figure out his new home address and sign him up to a huge slew of advertising mailing lists and catalogues. He subsequently complained about this "harassment".

His career in spam is recorded in an extensive entry on Spamhaus' ROKSO list here.

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.